With Atlanta firmly cemented into the #16 spot in the draft, I’m rolling out my first mock draft of the offseason. These guys will all move and shake when the combine and senior bowl come around, but for now, a lot of these draft positions are up in the air (unless your name is Joe Burrow). This isn’t what I think the team will do; this is who I would take at these junctions.
Round 1 (Pick 16): DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
There’s a lot to love about Javon Kinlaw’s game. The 6’6″, 310-pound senior would pair perfectly with Grady Jarrett or maybe even slide over to defensive end a la Chris Jones or Gerald McCoy. He’s an impressive pass rusher for a guy his size, finishing his 2019 season with 10.5 sacks, 18 TFL, three forced fumbles and recovered four on his way to earning All American honors. Kinlaw is crazy explosive. The knock on him coming out of college is the lack of a secondary pass rush move. This might scare off some Falcons fans, but the talent is there, and this team desperately needs help across their defensive line.
Round 2 (Pick 47): CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
Isaiah Oliver has been a LOT better of late. Kendall Sheffield has shown flashes. However, with Blidi Wreh Wilson, an impending free agent on a cap-strapped team, there will be a hole. Besides, you can never have enough quality defensive backs in today’s pass-happy league. Terrell is a guy who could shoot up the draft board with a big National Championship game, and for a good reason. He’s a long and sticky man corner, much like Isaiah Oliver. His frame can present problems; sometimes he has issues with tackling and getting off blocks. However, I like his trajectory, and I think he’d be an excellent nickel corner due to his pristine athletic ability.
Round 2 (From New England): C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
Biadasz is my top priority in the 2nd round. He might slide to this spot depending on how the Patriots finish, but if they do that Patriots thing where they go to the Super Bowl, Atlanta should go ahead and snag him with their own pick (if he’s even there at that junction). Biadasz makes a lot of sense. He’s a mauler and the leader of the best offensive line in college football. He loves the nastiness and fight of every single handoff Jonathan Taylor receives. Alex Mack is 33 and has a massive cap hit next season. Maybe you don’t cut him, and even if he hangs around, you can slot Biadasz at left guard and cut James Carpenter.
Round 3 (Pick 78): LB Troy Dye, Oregon
I really like Troy Dye at this point in the draft. Some team could snag him earlier than this and for good reason. Dye is super athletic and covers the field very well; he’s built for the modern NFL. There will be a hole in this linebacking corps with Foye Oluokun stepping up and De’Vondre Campbell likely making his exit. He reminds me a bit of *gulp* Duke Riley, but I think Dye is a much smarter player. His biggest knock right now is his size. As a junior, he probably still has room to add to his frame. He brings a lot of spunk to the field but has to get bigger or he will be overwhelmed by NFL blockers. I like the gamble here in round three.
Round 4 (Pick 122): DT Lorenzo Neal, Purdue
Doubling up on the defensive front here. Once upon a time, Neal was a draft darling getting some round one love. A quiet finish to his college career and the emergence of Kinlaw and Brown knocked him down draft boards. In fact, Todd McShay mocked him to the Falcons in the first round after the draft last season. I still like Neal, a lot.
The name sound familiar? His dad is one of the baddest fullbacks in NFL history. He honestly reminds me so much of Grady Jarrett that I couldn’t pass him up here. He’s a little heavier than Jarrett, but they’re both about 6’2″ and have a tenacious attitude when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Neal’s college career stats were less sexy but make no mistake; he’s a disruptor. Neal, Jarrett, and Kinlaw add a lot of piss and vinegar to this defensive front that it has lacked it for a long time.
Round 5 (Pick 163): RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
I kept letting running backs fall further and further until I finally stopped the slide to pick up AJ Dillon. It’s hard for me to use a pick on a running back early knowing Dirk Koetter will be back; he’s allergic to running the ball. I’ve discussed the running backs I like in depth, but I made it a point that Dillon is an iffy fit. In round 5 though, I think he’s a steal.
This team would be wise to move on from Devonta Freeman and roll with a three-headed backfield of Ito Smith, Brian Hill, and AJ Dillon as the lead dog. I like Dillon for his vision more than anything. He’s perfect for a zone-blocking scheme, and if Lindstrom, Biadasz, and Mack can become a cohesive interior, he’ll have plenty of lanes to run through. Dillon is a bruiser who delivers punishment, and his legs do have some serious miles on them, but he’s accounted for 4,618 yards, which was easily a Boston College record and almost an ACC record. You don’t get that by going three yards and a cloud of dust. If Dirk Koetter ever decides to establish the run at any point, Dillon could be a perfect fit.
Round 7 (Pick 232): EDGE Michael Divinity Jr., LSU
It’s the 7th round baby, let’s play with some house money. After announcing he’d be ineligible for some time, Divinity is returning for the National Championship game for the Bayou Bengals. In 5 games this year, he had three sacks, 4 TFL, and a forced fumble. Divinity has a lot of talent; he can rush the passer and drop into coverage if needed. He can get caught up trying to make the big plays sometimes, but that’s expected out of a 7th round prospect. I want the biggest gamble you have in round 7, and Divinity is as boom or bust as they get. He fills a need and is oozing with potential. If he can leave his troubles behind him, he could contribute along with Foye Oluokun and Troy Dye in De’Vondre Campbell’s absence.